In an age of increasingly technology-fueled contact centers, automated systems can often handle minor issues with customers. This is no doubt a good thing, both for the client and the contact center. But it also means that the larger, more complex problems are still going to need to be addressed by your staff.

This gives them a higher level of responsibility than ever, and it also means that your process of training has to be better, more effective and more thorough than ever. But with so many training procedures and theories out there, what are the best ways to create a knowledgeable, effective staff?

Here are some best practices when it comes to training your contact center employees.

Empowering Your Employees

If you make sure your employees feel like they have a stake in your contact center’s success, they’re more likely to go the extra mile to make sure that’s the case.

An employee that feels valued within the center and that has the power to make certain decisions is much more likely to solve a customer issue within a single call, and they’ll be a better representative of whatever brand your center is handling.

Varied Procedures

Who says that training procedures can’t be frequently examined, evaluated and changed, just like you might do in an employee evaluation? This helps to ensure a higher level of engagement from the employee, whether it’s a new hire or a longtime employee who’s training on new procedures.

Mix up simulations, videos, written training and actual calls to make sure that your employees have as many different situations under their belt as possible. The more prepared they are, the more likely they can handle a customer’s problem in one call.

Why Wait?

And speaking of the training period, why not have your employees handle some calls (under the proper supervision, of course)? It may sound a little intimidating for them and like a bit of a risk for you, but with a fully trained supervisor on hand, the trainee can defer to them if need be, and there’s no better way to train than by having hands-on experience.

Keep The Process Continuous

Training doesn’t end when an employee begins handling calls on his or her own. It’s a constant process of learning, and one of the best ways to periodically strengthen your employee’s abilities between evaluations is to review their calls monthly.

Frequent check-ins and call evaluations can clear up small problems before they become larger ones.

Positive Management Philosophy

Encourage your contact center supervisors not just to offer critiques and constructive feedback, but to praise the trainees when they’ve done things well. An unbalanced amount of criticism vs. praise can create an impression with the employee that they aren’t doing well, when they might be doing just fine.

And who among us doesn’t feel the urge to perform better at their job when they’ve received positive encouragement?

Clarity Is Key

Speaking of feedback, it’s important to make sure that what you’re telling your trainees is as clear as possible. Make your language specific and precise, so that there’s no room for ambiguity in what you tell your new employees.

Not only will it help their development, but it can set a precedent for all of their future interactions with the contact center management.

The Buddy System

Who are the star performers at your call center? What makes them excel at their jobs? Why not pair up your trainees with the workers who have gone above and beyond?

Not only does it give them a chance to see the practices and techniques that will help them excel, but it will also give them an idea of how the call center works from a knowledgeable, reliable perspective.

Incentives

Incentives for above-average job performance are a well-known way to encourage great results and company loyalty, so why not introduce the same kind of program to your training process? It doesn’t have to be a large financial investment; small bonuses or paid time off or a free lunch can be effective training incentives.

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